Editor’s Introduction: Language and society: conflict or co-genesis?
Ruqaiya Hasan† [+]
The chapters of this volume explore the intimate relations of society, language and mind: the development of each of these depends on the contribution of the other two. In this sense they are co-genetic: mind has recently been described by the famous neuro-scientist, Susan Greenfield, as 'personalized brain.' The development of human mind depends on what it experiences; for human beings, experience goes beyond sensation: it is made of meaning, and interpretation/meaning, in turn, is construed by the various semiotic modalities, of which language is perhaps the most flexible and most pervasive. But language has itself evolved in the course of attempts to reach an 'other.' By shaping the nature of communication, human relations shape also the nature of language; meanings exchanged in verbal interaction become a major force in shaping forms of consciousness; and our consciousness reveals itself in our cultural practices, our ways of being, doing and saying.